© David Loftus
old-fashioned sweet shortcrust pastry
This pastry is perfect for making apple and other sweet pies. Even if youíve never made pastry before, as long as you stick to the correct measurements for the ingredients and you follow the method exactly, youíll be laughing. The one place where you can experiment is with fl avoring. If you donít fancy using lemon zest, try another dry ingredient like orange zest instead. Or a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or cocoa powder.
Vanilla seeds are great too. Just remember to be subtle and donít go overboard with any of these fl avors! Try to be confi dent and bring the pastry together as quickly as you can Ė donít knead it too much or the heat from your hands will melt the butter. A good tip is to hold your hands under cold running water beforehand to make them as cold as possible. That way youíll end up with a delicate, fl aky pastry every time.
PS You can also make this pastry using a food processor (see the method opposite).
Sift the flour from a height onto a clean work surface and sift the icing sugar over the top. Using your hands, work the cubes of butter into the fl our and sugar by rubbing your thumbs against your fi ngers until you end up with a fi ne, crumbly mixture. This is the point where you can spike the mixture with interesting fl avors, so mix in your lemon zest.
Add the eggs and milk to the mixture and gently work it together till you have a ball of dough. Flour it lightly. Donít work the pastry too much at this stage or it will become elastic and chewy, not crumbly and short. Flour your work surface and place the dough on top. Pat it into a fl at round, fl our it lightly, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it into the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.